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Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa Launched

Monday 11 February 2002

Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa Launched


New Zealand’s first comprehensive youth strategy was launched today by Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harré.

“The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa is a long-term plan and direction for how to support and develop young people in New Zealand, aged 12 to 24 years. It is not a quick-fix strategy that attempts to patch up problems as they arise – that kind of approach has been tried in the past and has failed young people,” said Ms Harré.

“If you have a leaking roof on your house and you run around getting the roof fixed, then discover the plumbing is not working and get the plumber in, or the wiring’s faulty and fix that, you are wasting your time and resources if you never look at the design of the house.”

“In the same way, if we continue to identify young people according to their separate ‘problems’ rather than address the whole design of youth policy, we will fail them.”

The strategy’s model of positive youth development is already receiving international support and is being recognised as a cutting-edge policy.

Young people are shaped by four key social environments – family/whanau, school/training/work, community and peers. The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa is about government doing what it can to ensure that young people are strongly and positively connected to others in these four key environments.

“The current generation of young people and those entering it are much more likely to have experienced major economic and personal stress than any recent generation of New Zealanders. It is incredibly important that we implement this strategy now and not leave their transition into adulthood to chance.”

“A Strategy implies action. I will be working with my colleagues across many portfolios, to ensure it shapes all policies and programmes that work with and for young people. Rather than establishing totally new initiatives, the focus is on improving and building on existing ones. The Strategy is government’s pledge to young people that all programmes developed for them will be developed with them and according to stricter critieria”.

Eighteen months of work by the Ministry of Youth Affairs has gone into developing the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa. Consultation was a key part of its development, with160 written responses from adults and agencies and 227 from young people. Over 1,400 young people went to meetings or contributed a written response.

Youth Affairs will take a lead role in working with other central government agencies to apply this Strategy across the work of government portfolio areas.


Questions and Answers

What is Youth Development?

 Youth development is about young people growing up and developing the skills and attitudes they need to take part positively in society, now and in the future.

 Youth development is described as taking place in the context of young people’s family/whanau, peer group, school, training or workplace and ethnic/geographic community.

 It’s also about young people being involved and having a say in decisions that affect them, their family, their community and their country.

What’s the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa about?

 The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa is about how young women and men can be supported to developing the skills and attitudes they need to take part positively in society, now and in future.

 The Strategy is about involving young people as stakeholders in the decisions that affect them.

 The Strategy provides a plan and is a tool for how this can happen. It is not a ‘quick fix’ strategy but a long-term plan for how to support and develop young people in New Zealand.

 At its heart, it is about the positive development of young people in their communities, and the role of all sectors in raising happy, healthy young New Zealanders.

 The Strategy is about giving young people the skills and information they need to make healthy and informed choices.

 The Strategy is about giving young people the ability to cope with challenges, have self confidence, a desire to learn, develop productive work habits, get involved in sports, develop a healthy lifestyle and behaviour and hobbies, interests and skills.

 The Strategy does recognise the work already being done by parents, whanau, caregivers and the community to support young people and builds on this.

How will the Strategy work?

 A Strategy implies action. To ensure the Strategy shapes all policies and programmes for young people, an across government approach will be taken.

 It gives a framework that is applied across all government areas, not just by the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

 Youth Affairs will take a lead in working with government agencies, local authorities and non-government organisations to apply the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa across their work.

 The Strategy does lists actions for what needs to happen for the positive development of young people.

Isn’t the Strategy about seeing young people as a problem?

 The Strategy isn’t about treating young people as problems and it doesn’t list youth problems.

 The Strategy will help people working in sectors such as health, justice, education, care and protection to broaden their focus. It complements and supports sector-specific youth strategies and policies.

 For example the Youth Health Action Plan can use the YDSA to look at the best ways to address young people’s health issues. The Strategy will help provide the link between the many factors that limit some young people’s potential.

 The Strategy is not sector specific. It aims to shift thinking across all sectors of government beyond a common focus on young people as problems, to a positive focus on young people with a role as active participants in their, and their communities’ development.

Isn’t this just another Government Strategy for adults to tell youth what to do?

 No. The Strategy isn’t just a statement of what adults think is best for young New Zealanders. That approach leaves young people themselves out of the loop.

 The Strategy is about involving young people as stakeholders in the decisions and issues that affect them.

 Young people have been actively involved throughout the development of the Strategy. It’s an excellent example of how young people can make a significant contribution to the policy process.

 Adults and decision makers should be supporting young people and making sure they have every opportunity to be fully connected to society and participate on equal terms in decisions that affect them.

 Positive youth development means building resilience, quite simply giving young people the skills and information they need to make healthy and informed choices.

How’s Government going to pay for what the Strategy says it’s going to do?

 The Strategy gives direction; it’s a plan. The focus is on improving and building on existing initiatives and programmes, rather than establishing totally new ones.

 As the Strategy is being implemented over the next few years, there may be a need to make budget allocations for this work in the future.
How is the Strategy going to stop boy and girl racers?

 Girl and boy racers are doing what young people do. They’re trying to have fun. It’s not about stopping girl and boys racers, it’s about getting young people and local authorities to work together to provide safe places for young people to race.

 The Strategy is about involving young people as stakeholders in the decisions and issues that affect them, getting together with local councils to find a solution not focus on the problem.

How’s the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa going to reduced youth suicide?

 The Strategy is about giving young people the ability to cope with challenges, have self confidence, a desire to learn, develop productive work habits, get involved in sports, develop a healthy lifestyle and behaviour and hobbies, interests and skills.

 The Strategy also looks at ways of how young people can develop and keep connections with their families/whanau, peers, schools, communities and workplaces so when they need help they can go to these people and ask for it.

 The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa provides a broader context for the on-going implementation of the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (without compromising support for individual young people at risk).

How’s it going to help young people stop taking drugs?

 The Strategy is about giving young people the ability to cope with challenges, have self confidence, a desire to learn, develop productive work habits, get involved in sports, develop a healthy lifestyle and behaviour and hobbies, interests and skills.

How’s it going to help reduce teen pregnancy?

 Young people are less likely to be parents than in the past. But Maori women in their late teens and early twenties have higher rates of fertility than other women of the same age. The YDSA is about giving young people the skills and attitudes they need to make healthy and informed choices.

 The Strategy is about giving young people the ability to cope with challenges, have self confidence, a desire to learn, develop productive work habits, get involved in sports, develop a healthy lifestyle and behaviour and hobbies, interests and skills.

How’s this going to reduce youth crime?

 The Strategy is about giving young people the ability to cope with challenges, have self confidence, a desire to learn, develop productive work habits, get involved in sports, develop a healthy lifestyle and behaviour and hobbies, interests and skills.


Spokespeople

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